play the card

play the card

exploit the specified issue or idea mentioned, especially for political advantage

This expression comes from the view expressed in 1886 by Lord Randolph Churchill that, concerning Irish Home Rule, the Orange card would be the one to play.

1998 - Edinburgh Student - The SNP, who dominate the Scottish independence campaign, argue that they do not play the race card.

Related Idioms :

get your cards

be dismissed from your employment - British informal

Cards are the national insurance card and other documents relating to an employee that are retained by the employer during the period that the employee works for them.

Give someone their cards means make someone redundant.

have a card up your sleeve

have a plan or asset that is kept secret until it is needed – British

hold all the cards

be in the strongest or most advantageous position.

keep your cards close to your chest = keep your cards close to your vest

be extremely secretive and cautious about something - informal

The previous two idioms both refer to a hand of cards in a card game. If you hold all the cards you have a winning hand, while card players who hold their cards close to their bodies ensure that no opponent can look at them.

mark someone's card

give someone information - informal

on the cards

possible or likely

This phrase, a North American variant of which is in the cards, probably refers to the practice of using playing cards or tarot cards to foretell the future.

play your cards right

make the best use of your assets and opportunities.

put your cards on the table = lay your cards on the table

be completely open and honest in declaring your resources, intentions or attitude.

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